Queen's University, Belfast

Current Position Professor of Environmental Microbiology
Telephone +44 (0)28 9097 2088
Email j.mcgrath@qub.ac.uk
Departments School of Biological Sciences
Quadrat Core Themes Earth Systems
Methods I Use Bio / Geo / Chemical Analytical, Omics and Informatics


Key Research Interests

  • Physiology, biochemistry and genetics of bacteria, and in biodegradation, bioremediation and the industrial exploitation of microorganisms.
  • Much of his research effort has been devoted to understanding how microbial communities drive ecosystem processes and can be managed to remove and recycle value added products from waste, make renewable energy sustainable, and improve human health.

Specifically this work focuses on:

  • The biogeochemistry of microbial phosphorus cycling in the marine, freshwater, terrestrial, agri-food and engineered (wastewater) environments
  • The valorisation of agri-food by-products for the production of high value compounds
  • Development of enhanced aerobic treatment processes and anaerobic digestion systems for waste treatment, nutrient recovery and value-added product synthesis

Recent Key Papers

  • Paula, F.S., Chin, J.P., Schnurer, A., Muller, B., Manesiotis, P., Waters, N., Macintosh, K.A., Quinn, J.P., Connolly, J., Abram, F., McGrath, J.W. and O’Flaherty, V. (2019) The potential for polyphosphate metabolism in Archaea and anaerobic polyphosphate formation in Methanosarcina mazei. Rep. 9(1), 17101;
  • Macintosh, K. A., Doody, D.G., Withers, P.J.A., McDowell, R.W., Smith, D.R., Johnson, L.T., Bruulsema, T.W., O’Flaherty, V. and McGrath, J.W. (2019) Transforming soil phosphorus fertility management strategies to support the delivery of multiple ecosystem services from agricultural systems. Total Environ., 649, 90-98
  • Chin, J.P., Quinn, J.P. and McGrath J.W. (2018) Phosphate insensitive aminophosphonate mineralisation within oceanic nutrient cycles. ISME J, 12, 973-980;

Summary Title of Current Studentships

  • Unravelling the freshwater microbial phosphorus cycle